Human rights seem to be all the “rage” today and seemingly all that rage is focused on Israel. With the United Nations Human Rights Commission slamming Israel in the just-released McGowan Report on Gaza (47 nations voted in support; only one dissent [U.S.]; five abstentions) and Russia hosting a “Human Rights” conference entitled “U.N. International Meeting in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace,” sponsored by the U.N.’s Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, featuring Arab Knesset Member Ahmad Tibi fulminating on Israeli apartheid and its usurpation of Palestinian land, Israel is the summer’s hot topic — and in hot water.
Speaking of water, last week I wrote about the flotilla to Gaza. Though the flotilla ended uneventfully and devoid of violence, it provided an insight into “human rights” activists. Proving the participants’ “dedication” to the noble cause of providing the citizens of Gaza with relief, three of the four boats returned to their homeport before approaching Israeli territorial water, leaving a sole ship to champion the cause of the downtrodden citizens of Gaza. The ship, the Marianne, was escorted by Israeli naval boats to the Ashdod port. Israel’s Defense Minister Yaalon claimed the Navy discovered “no aid on board.” Marianne crew members quickly provided evidence to the contrary: a photo of two cardboard boxes. The contents of this precious cargo? A personal-size nebulizer machine and a single solar panel. The world owes thanks to the intrepid members of the Marianne for their stellar efforts in bringing relief to an asthmatic and hygiene to a family lacking hot showers; a handful of lives (out of the 1.8 million inhabitants of Gaza) helped by activists’ largesse.
On average, including days Israel absorbs rocket fire from Gaza, hundreds of trucks pass from Israel to Gaza bringing food and medicine to the Palestinians. Israel also supplies water and electricity to Gaza, effectively free of charge; though the Gazans are billed, they just don’t pay and Israel does not press, making Israel, ironically, Gaza’s primary benefactor. Claiming a humanitarian crisis in Gaza is a canard, a weapon in the propaganda war against Israel. It reinforces Hamas’s brutal totalitarian subjugation of its own people. Hamas abuses the Gazans while conducting terrorist operations and diverting the seemingly endless supply of international aid to its leadership, by which several became billionaires, including its two leaders, Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Meshaal.
Has the Marianne’s phantom cargo and the well-known fact of Hamas’ kleptocracy shocked its Western patrons sufficiently to stopper the pipeline? Evidently not.
The French government announced after last week’s humanitarian “char-aid” that it will continue to fund the virulently anti-Israel non-governmental organization “Platform” (the umbrella organization of French NGOs for Palestine) which helped fund last month’s flotilla, despite a formal complaint by Israel’s embassy in Paris to the French Foreign Ministry.
As the escorted Marianne approached Ashdod, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office prepared a “greeting” for the blockade-busting blockheads: “Welcome to Israel! It appears you’ve made a mistake along the way. Perhaps you meant to sail somewhere not far from here — Syria. There, Assad’s regime is massacring his own people every day with the help of the murderous Iranian regime.” Had the flotilla heeded Netanyahu’s advice and aimed up the coast a few hundred miles north of Gaza, they would have, in fact, reached the Syrian coastline where their “human rights” activism may have produced some good. But “good” was not their purpose. Syria suffers silently as Gaza grabs headlines — and money.
In a statement released last week, the World Food Programme (W.F.P.), a U.N. agency, revealed it will halve the value of food vouchers given to Syrian refugees in Lebanon this month, potentially cutting all aid for the 440,000 Syrians in Jordan in August. The reason is not lack of need but lack of funds. To date, nearly one quarter of a million people have been killed in the Syrian conflict, and according to a 2014 U.N. report, nearly half of Syria’s prewar population of 22 million has been displaced since the start of the civil war in 2011.
Though similar language defines “refugees” in general and “Palestinian refugees” in particular, the main distinction is U.N.R.W.A.’s (U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) definition of who qualifies as a “Palestinian refugee.” U.N.R.W.A. is the only organization to expand the definition of “refugee” to include children, grandchildren — even great-grandchildren. With this expanded (selective) definition, Palestinians constitute over five million “refugees,” roughly one-quarter of the world’s refugees, while, in truth, barely 30,000 Palestinians would qualify by the standard definition.
“Human rights” in theory is an enlightened pursuit. Unfortunately, it is practiced in a most prejudicial manner, showing unwarranted preference to the putative “Palestinian” people. Breaking the Gaza blockade was not meant to provide relief to humans but to Hamas, as a precursor to Iranian military shipments.
While it is a truism that two wrongs don’t make a right, it seems “human rights” can certainly make it wrong.
Meir Solomon is a writer, analyst, and commentator living in Alon Shvut, Israel, with his amazing wife and two wonderful children. He can be contacted at msolomon@Hamodia.com.